Halloween's coming up, my FAVORITE holiday! Ever since I was a kid I've loved creepy and dark stuff, and Halloween is the only time of year that it's "okay" to really indulge in all that, the only time that one can walk down the street dressed up as a freak and not actually be considered a freak.
With that in mind, and to help everyone gear up for Halloween, I'd like to do a short review of my favorite scary movie (and, in my opinion, one of the greatest movies ever made), The Shining.
The Shining (1980) was directed by legendary director Stanley Kubrick, based on a the book of the same name by Stephen King, and stars a young Jack Nicholson. On the surface, the story is about a man and his family that are hired to take care of a ski resort during the most brutal part of the winter. At it's heart however, it is a deep exploration of themes that can terrify every human being to their core.
The movie does contain ghosts and demonic forces, but these are a vehicle to express far deeper, and more real, issues. Rather than just rely on external, supernatural antagonistic forces, the film interweaves many horrifying themes that are part of the human condition: child abuse, spousal abuse, alcoholism, cabin fever, and insanity.
Any good horror movie brings out a sense of terror by building up suspense (Alien is a perfect example). The Shining pulls this off flawlessly through phenomenal cinematography and an excellent music score. The opening scene, an overhead view of a car passing through the mountains, is by itself scary, and you're just looking at a car driving through trees! The Shining doesn't pull any punches, pushing the level of terror higher and higher until you feel like you're about to jump out of your own skin.
I really can't stress enough how phenomenal this movie is. It will always stand out as one of the greatest horror movies ever made, and I have doubts that it will ever be topped. If you haven't seen it yet, drop everything, revoke such silly luxuries as heat, food, and water, and go see it immediately, in the dark. You can bring your safety blanket if you want.
The "Stanley Kubrick Collection" DVD version is especially good, as it includes some great behind-the-scenes footage. As a special bonus, this footage was shot by Stanley Kubrick's daughter, Vivian. She also provided director commentary over the footage for some really interesting insights about the movie.
I give The Shining 6 out of 5 Stars ;)